There are certain dining experiences that are so exquisite and transcendent, that long after the tastes fade, the memory lingers powerfully. Such was the experience I had at The Herbfarm in Woodinville, WA. Mind you, this was back in 2005, for a Valentine's Day meal, when Jerry Traunfeld was still the chef. In 2008, as I thought about writing about my experience there, I contacted them to get a copy of the menu they served that day. Even while I was typing an email to the restaurant, I figured the chances of them finding the menu and actually bothering to write me back would be -- oh, say, 1 in 139597862; in other words, pointless.
But believe it or not, the menu appeared in my inbox a few weeks later, with profuse apologies for the delay in getting back to me. I was shocked (and totally ecstatic). It meant so, so much to me. But why was I so surprised? I mean, here I am, daydreaming about a single meal I had at this place 3 years ago (at that point in time - clearly I still think about it in 2010!), and the service then had been impeccable - so why would it be different 3 years later? (You're shaking your head - I know! I still can't believe it). Needless to say, this restaurant will definitely reside in my heart for a very long time, not just for its food, but for the whole experience.
Here's the menu I had that fateful evening:
To top off a truly perfect evening, my dinner partner secretly purchased a copy of The Herbfarm Cookbook, and had Chef Traunfeld personally come out at the end of the evening and sign it for me at our table, as I sat with my mouth agape. Unforgettable.